The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Ice Cream at Pates et Traditions, then a Fried Fish Sandwich from Little Poland

This post happened on March 14th. Better late than never? Ehhh? Eh.

fish sandwich
Fish. Sammich.

"I'll get the fried fish sandwich. Does it come with anything on it?"

"No, it's just fish," the waitress replied.

"Can I add cheese to that?"

"Sure! How many slices would you like?"

"Two slices of American." A second later, another crucial element popped into my head: "Could I also get tartar sauce?"

tartar sauce
Tartar sauce.

Yup, I was recreating a McDonald's Filet-O-Fish. You're allowed to do that when you're at a diner, such as Little Poland, site of that night's group dinner. Half the table went with Eastern European fare—pierogies, stuffed cabbage, borscht—while one unhungry friend sipped on a cup of tea, another went with grilled cheese, and I writhed with indecision between grilled cheese and a fried fish sandwich. And then I realized, "Wait, I'm at a diner; I can combine the two. Hell, I can order whatever I want. Heehee. Bwahaha. BWAHAHAHA [continue with drawn out evil cackling and the like]"

fried fish sandwich
Sandwich innards.

As much as I appreciated that Little Poland's sandwich was made of a recognizable cut of fish unlike the molded square patty in McDonald's version, nothing really hits the spot for me quite like the latter. What's the allure of a soft, fluffy steamed bun + crispy minced fish patty + layer of congealed yellow cheese + messy dollop of tangy tartar sauce? Nostalgia, perhaps; I ate a lot of Filet-O-Fish sandwiches growing up. (My mom cooked dinner most of the time, but considering that she and my dad worked full time there were many McDonald's nights to give her a break. Or course, my brother and I loved those nights.)

But a part of me believes that I'd like the Filet-O-Fish even if it weren't attached to so many of my happy calorie-laden childhood memories. It's by far my favorite item at McDonald's (not that there's much competition there; I like the fries, because who doesn't, and I'm not going to pretend that blended chicken goo molded into nubs and deep fried aren't tasty, but the rest of the menu is mehhh), and I like the small snack-worthy size. Don't think I'm a Filet-O-Fish addict though; since 2008 I've eaten it once or twice a year. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Or something.

Little Poland's sandwich was fine. Not something I'd order again for about $8 (it came with a pickle, if that makes things any better...not really), but it fulfilled my craving at the time.

Pate et Traditions Exterior Interior
Pates et Traditions

I didn't get any dessert after dinner; I ate it before dinner. That's just how I roll. Sometimes. In this case, I was in Williamsburg that afternoon at Iona to see Winston's paintings, and afterward had some time to kill with Adelyn and Diana before I had to head to the East Village for dinner. So we popped into the overly cute (there were hearts dangling from the ceiling, man) French restaurant Pates et Traditions for a sweet snack.

caramel ice cream cup
Caramel ice cream cup.

When I saw a section of ice cream cups on the menu I envisioned dainty miniature sundaes. The sort that would be perfectly reasonable to eat before dinner. But, who'da thunk it, cups come in more than one size, and my caramel ice cream cup ($7) was about twice as large as what I was expecting. Perhaps the price tag should've tipped me off. The tall glass was full of vanilla ice cream scoops drizzled in thick caramel sauce, topped with a heap of whipped cream, and sprinkled with crisp slivered toasted almonds. Like any good ice cream sundae, the whole was greater than the sum of its parts. No component was particularly memorable on its own, but together in just the right proportions (I was especially fond of the large gobs of caramel sauce) it was a sundae worth remembering.

ginger crepe Crepe Nutella

The crepes are the star of their menu though, not ice cream cups. I've never been a big fan of crepes (I'm more of a fluffy American-style pancake gal), but Adelyn and Diana liked their crepes: the ginger crepe ($6) and the Nutella crepe ($5).

I'd definitely go back to Pates et Traditions for a dessert fix in Williamsburg. There isn't much in the ways of ice cream in that area, nor crepes, I would assume, and the waitresses are super nice. They also do special entrées on Fridays and Saturdays that sound like they're worth checking out.


Little Poland
200 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003 (b/n 12th and 13th streets map)

Pates et Traditions
52 Havemeyer Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (at N 6th Street; map)


kim / April 19, 2010 7:38 AM

I haven't been back to Little Poland for quite some time. It's time to go back for some pierogi. You should try the Ukranian Restaurant as well. Have you been there?

Mahar / April 19, 2010 2:41 PM

Fried fish tastes good with peanut butter! Seriously. Just make sure it's not the super sweet kind. I like it with cardamom peanut butter.

It's been so hot here, I WANT YOUR ICE CREAM CUP. :((

LKP / April 19, 2010 5:39 PM

OMG I loooove the pierogi at Little Poland. And they give you a huge serving of sour cream to go with them. I'll have to try the fish sammich, too!

Rebecca / April 19, 2010 7:13 PM

I used to LOVE McDonald's caramel sundaes. :( I wept tears of joy when I saw that the McDonald's in Sydney had them...Until I found out that the "caramel" was actually butterscotch.

They did, however have the old fashioned fried apple pies of my youth. Crack pie!

I'm kind of embarassed that Mcd's old treats stir up as much nostalgia as my mom's home cooking.

Nicholas / April 20, 2010 12:37 AM

Are you telling me that McDonald's soft serve can't compete with filet-o-fish? As far as whole being greater than the sum of parts thing (my inner engineer has a lot of issues with this statement :D), McDonald's soft serve + their french fries would definitely qualify for me.

Sigh, that diner does have that storybook charm though.

roboppy / April 20, 2010 12:58 AM

kim: Yup, I've tried the Ukrainian East Village Restaurant! I liked it more for the atmosphere than the food I think, not that anything's wrong with the food...the setting is pretty unique. :)

michelle: WOOHOO!

Mahar: I'd happily eat PB on fried fish.

LKP: Oh yeah, I'm a big fan of putting tons of sour cream on pierogies.

Rebecca: I think I liked the sundaes as a kid, but that affinity didn't carry into later years. I bet I'd still like the pie though. :)

Nicholas: I'm waaay more into the Filet-O-Fish than the soft serve. :) I mean, I like soft serve, but I don't remember it tasting better than soft serve from other places (not that I've eaten it that Filet-O-Fish is a uniquely McD thing to me.

Naomi / April 20, 2010 1:53 PM

The meatloaf sandwich at Little Poland was a treasure, but then I haven't eaten there since the late 90's. Something tells me it would still be pretty good.

roboppy / April 22, 2010 2:33 AM

Naomi: Oooo I like the sound of a meatloaf sandwich. Haven't had one of those in ages. I'll have to try it next time!

roboppy / April 29, 2010 11:03 PM

Ani: I can't believe I used to live in Williamsburg and didn't know this place existed! I prolly would've loved it then. I fail.

donuts4dinner / May 2, 2010 2:46 PM

That fish photo is so lovely that even I, a non-seafood-lover, suddenly feel like a Filet-o-Fish. It helps that the actual fish part is covered by breading, I suppose. And that I freakin' love tartar sauce. I think I may need to post in my own blog about tartar sauce, actually. Don't be surprised when I link here.

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